Just as Suspected

October 18, 2010

So predictable.  Just as I suspected, former Secretary of Commerce, Michael Ada created his consulting business, Integrated Professional Solutions LLC, days before receiving a contract from the CNMI Governor.

The Saipan Tribune also reported (emphasis added):
Ada, in a phone interview yesterday, said while it's true that he didn't get a business license before his consulting firm was awarded a contract, his company didn't receive a single cent until they completed all the requirements that included obtaining a business license.

He said IPS got an advance payment only on Oct. 15.

Based on the 13-page contract, IPS was to be paid $78,418 or 20-percent of the total contract price once all contract signatures have been completed.

Ada also said his private consulting firm retained three of four ARRA program employees. He said he didn't absorb the program manager because the position will duplicate his post.
Why couldn't the program manager continue to administer the ARRA grants at the Department of Commerce?  There is no name listed under the position on the ARRA website for the position.  However a previous Saipan Tribune article states that Antonio Muna, Jr. is the "acting CNMI ARRA Program Manager."

Aside from the State Lead (Ada) and the program manager (Muna?), the three other ARRA positions  are: CNMI ARRA Administrative Manager,  Alfreda Marie P. CamachoCNMI ARRA IT/Communications Manager, Winifred Camacho;  and CNMI ARRA Administrative Assistant, Floyd Dela Cruz. Why couldn't this team continue to administer the ARRA funding under the Dept. of Commerce?

According to the Saipan Tribune:
Ada said ARRA allowed the CNMI to have a budget of $500,000 for the management operation, including payments for employees. The $392,406 contract is the balance of that $500,000 which Ada said will be used for 18 months until the ARRA program expires.
Was the missing $106,594 from the $500,000 total used by the Department of Commerce to pay salaries for the ARRA personnel?

Looks like another conflict of interest, another waste of money, and another questionable contract penned by the Fitial Administration to advance the interests of another loyal supporter.

Hypocrisy to the Max!

In June 2010, Governor Fitial and then Secretary of Commerce and the CNMI State Lead for ARRA, Michael Ada slammed the U.S. Department of Interior for "violating American Recovery and Reinvestment Act rules when it didn't give CNMI companies an opportunity to bid on an ARRA-funded engineering service project at the American Memorial Park."

The Saipan Tribune reported:
Commerce Secretary Michael Ada, who is the CNMI ARRA state lead, said that while the CNMI ARRA office is as transparent as possible, it is “alarming” to know that federal agencies do not hold themselves to the same standard.

“It is imperative that our local businesses have the opportunity to at least compete for the work made available under the ARRA, rather than providing the tax dollars and jobs to those firms outside of our jurisdiction. Based on the work that is being done on other ARRA projects, it is more than evident that the CNMI has more than enough qualified firms to do the job,” Ada said in a statement yesterday.

The CNMI ARRA office said in August 2009, it discovered that the Interior had used ARRA funding to directly contract a firm out of Honolulu, Hawaii for engineering services at the American Memorial Park.

A firm out of Guam was then subcontracted to assist in finalizing the energy project, “completely leaving the CNMI out of the loop.”

Fitial said he was gravely disappointed to learn that despite the federal government's violation of President Barack Obama's directive, there has been no congressional action to rectify this issue.
Strange that this pair then came up with a sole-source contract that prevented other CNMI companies and individuals from participating in a bidding process!

The Fitial Administration claimed that the government should be transparent, participatory, and collaborative:
In a statement yesterday, the Fitial administration cited Obama's Jan. 21, 2009 executive memorandum fundamentally changing the way the U.S. federal government operated. This memorandum to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies stated three objectives; the government should be transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

The Fitial administration said Interior's action related to the CNMI project is contradictory to Obama's directive and to the ARRA Transparency and Accountability provisions that the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board have been emphasizing the states and territories to abide by.

The provision requires that all ARRA funded opportunities be transparent and that all eligible bidders be given the opportunity to bid.

“Being that this was a direct contract neither one of these requirements were met. Had this project been advertised and CNMI firms been given the opportunity to bid, this would have fulfilled one of the ARRA's major goals which is to transparently create jobs and infuse much needed revenue into the economies of the states and territories,” the administration said.
Such blatant hypocrisy!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wendy,

This is beyond corruption. My question is, why isn't the FBI doing anything???

Captain said...

To be able to get a contract from ARRA or any other agency, you have to first bid on the project.
No agency sends out direct invitations to bid to each individual companies.(there are exceptions to this rule)
A specific person(s) in a company is usually assigned to searching for bid invitations from various agencies, companies, Govts etc. that are in their physical area and also the companies job qualifications and expertise.
Unlike the way the NMI Govt.deals, nothing is handed to competitive companies.
If any of the NMI companies happen to bid and get a US Govt contract they would have to pay the Davis Bacon wage along with other prebid qualification requirements.(and record keeping, past US Govt. contract performances etc. is a big part)
I can only, off the top of my head, think of maybe one or possibly two NMI companies that may be able to qualify, besides that there is also the bonding issue.

TAGLISH said...

Anon 10:37

The question is WHERE'S THE PEOPLE OUTRAGE? CNMI doesn't deserve any sympathy from any Federal agency, because local people here are so ignorant of their rights, don't know how to help themselves, what they only know is to ask for help! I hope these people will act soon before it's too late for them and before Uncle Sam stop feeding them and tell them to make their own Chamorro $$$!!!